Squires Gate 6, St Helens Town 1
GATE recorded their second win of the seasom in style as striker Joe Shelmerdine hit a hat-trick.
The strong wind seemed to trouble the spectators more than the players and the home side made the most of having the elements in their favour in the first half.
They opened the scoring after three minutes, when Louis Mayers’ free-kick from 30 yards was slotted home by Scott Harries at the far post.
Gate skipper Nigel Taylor showed his importance to the side after injury with an accurate ball which freed Mayers in the box.
He was fouled and Shelmerdine gave the keeper no chance with the penalty on 14 minutes. Neil Beesley made a great save to keep the score at 2-0 until half-time. Gate piled on more pressure despite having the wind in their faces after the break but Ian Dyson pulled one back for St Helens on 58 minutes.
Scott Harries hit the post and saw the ball cleared after running along the goalline, but Shelmerdine sealed the victory by racing on to long balls for goals in the 63rdd and 77th minutes.
But Sam Farrow marked his first Gate start with a superb solo goal on 82 minutes, running from inside his own half, and Andy Richards completed the scoring in the final minute when he accepted Mayers’ pass and fired home from long range.
Player-boss Russ McKenna said: “This result reflects the great spirit on a night it all came together. It sets us up for a great F A Cup tie at home to Runcorn Linnets on Saturday.”
Gate: Beesley, Richards, Taylor, McCann, Bartlett, Benfield, Horn, Farrow, Shelmerdine, L Mayers, Harries; subs, Harvie, K Mayers, Miller, McKendrick, McKenna.
n AFC Blackpool’s hopes of returning to winning ways at struggling Atherton LR were dashed by Gareth Cook’s equaliser five minutes from time.
The North West Counties premier clash ended 2-2 after Niall Cummins had put Blackpool in front two minutes earlier.
It was 1-1 at half-time, after James Walker’s 35th-minute strike for AFC had cancelled out Andrew Griffths’ opener.